In an effort to stop the illegal sale of alcohol, Pabbo Town Council officials have seized more than 4,400 liters.
The two-day impromptu operation was conducted on Wednesday and Thursday by security personnel and the Pabbo Town Council authorities. It was aimed at people who sold illegal crude alcohol, which people in the area called “Kadeng Ci Kadeng,” which roughly means “If swelling, then swelling.”
The alcohol is reportedly locally manufactured in parts of the Lango Sub-region and Mable district.
The operation was triggered by the abuse of alcohol-based substances by mostly youth, ill health, and an increase in mental health problems, suicide, and death cases related to alcohol consumption.
A report from local authorities in Pabbo Town Council states that late last year, three people died after reportedly consuming illicit alcohol, while six others committed suicide between May and July.
Milly Acayo, a wholesaler whose 153 jerry cans of alcohol were seized, told URN that she buys them in Lira and Mbale Cities.
The impounded alcohol has been stored at the Pabbo Town Council community hall and the Pabbo Police Station while authorities decide what to do with it.
However, one of the people who were part of the operation told URN on condition of anonymity that the authorities intend to fine the dealers thirty-five thousand shillings for each jerry can and release them.
Apollo Okello, the former Secretary for Health in Amuru district, says that the consumption of “Kadeng Ci Deng” has led to a spike in violence and crimes in the district.
The LC I Chairperson for Kal Centre in Pabbo Town Council welcomed the operation, noting that they had already come up with a by-law that banned the trading of “ka deng ci deng” in the area two weeks ago.
But some of the dealers who spoke on the condition of anonymity said they didn’t know about the law that says they can’t sell this kind of alcohol, despite what the police say.
The drink has different descriptions, such as “Kadeng Ci Deng” in the West Acholi districts and “Guu” in East Acholi. “Guu” loosely translates to “rock,” which is attributed to the drink’s high concentration.
The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has not approved the drink. It is made with a highly concentrated chemical mixture that a dealer mixes into a 10-liter container to make up to 120 litres of waragi.
This is the same as filling six 20-liter jerry cans in 30 minutes, but it was done without fermentation or distillation.
During the lockdown, the drink was often drunk because it was cheap and easy for people to get.
During that time, people in Acholi have been drinking the drink illegally and without control, which has caused health concerns and a public outcry.
Some district local governments have already banned, while others are in the process of banning, the sale, distribution, and consumption of alcohol, citing health concerns.
Unconfirmed reports have it that dozens of people from the different Acholi districts have died; others have developed mental problems; while some men have also suffered erectile dysfunction in relation to consuming alcohol.